It’s official, the cocktail is back and in a big way!
A true cocktail is a mixture of spirits, sugar, water and bitters.
The cocktail first rose to prominence in the 1920’s and surged in popularity during the prohibition era of the 1930’s. Alcohol was outlawed at the time, however this did not slow consumption. As it was illegal to import and sell spirits many industrious people began distilling their own.
The practice of home distilling meant that the popularity of whisky diminished greatly due to its time-consuming aging process. The obvious replacement for whisky was Gin. The aromatic spirit was easy to distill and required zero aging, making it less expensive and less risky to produce.
Distilling is an involved process that requires a deft hand. Many of the Gins that were being distilled at the time were of very poor quality. They had to be produced in secret and with demand as strong as ever and a low supply, there was little incentive for home distillers to make a great product because whatever came out of the still would sell.
This poor quality Gin meant that people were deciding to mix the spirit with other spirits as well as bitters to improve the taste, and the “cocktail” became the drink of choice.
Today these prohibition era cocktails are once again popular and their resurgence is a welcome trend. The depth of flavour and enjoyability of these drinks is unmatched.
Some of our favourites are the Sazerac, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and the Negroni.
So get out there and experiment with some of these great classics! we have all the ingredients you will need at Vine Arts! Here is my recipe for a great Negroni to get you started.
What you need:
Martini Shaker, 1 Orange, Your favorite Gin, Campari, Cinzano, Angostura Bitters, Fee Bros. Orange Bitters, 1 Sugar cube, Ice and Water.
Drop the sugar cube in a rocks glass and add 5-7 dashes of Angostura bitters and a very small amount of water, just enough to stir the mixture until all the sugar is dissolved. The idea here is to sweeten the bitters to a point where the aromatics show through without being overly bitter.
In the Martini shaker add a few large cubes of ice and equal measures of Gin, Campari and Cinzano. Stir the mixture (do not shake). Add ice to the rocks glass that has your dissolved sugar and bitters and strain the Gin, Campari and Cinzano into the glass.
Add a dash of orange bitters and an orange wheel.
You can adjust the sweetness of this cocktail by adjusting the amount of sugar at the begining of the process.